The Appeal Court in Abuja has reserved judgment on the appeal of Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State against the election petition Tribunal verdict in Lafia.

After accepting the last Addresses, Justice Uchechukwu Onyemenam informed the counsels that the date for the ruling will be communicated to the parties in due course.

In a split decision, the governorship election petition tribunal pronounced, Mr David Ombugadu, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the lawful winner of the March 18 governorship election in the state.
However, a dissenting verdict by one of the three judges upheld Governor Sule’s election.

At the hearing on Wednesday, Mr Kanu Agabi, counsel to the respondent (Ombugadu), filed a request to strike out the appellant’s affidavit.

In his adumbration, Wole Olanipekun, asked the Court to dismiss the judgment of the Tribunal and allow the appeal of his client.

Olanipekun argued that the Tribunal did not take the submissions of their witnesses during the Tribunal hearing and that data from the Bimodal Voter Accreditation System, BVAS were merely dumped before the tribunal without being considered as evidence.

In his response, after adopting his processes, Counsel to respondent Ombugadu and PDP Mr. Kanu Agabi urged the Court to dismiss the appeal against the Tribunal judgment stating that their evidence were merely documentary.

On the issue of BVAS, Mr Agabi argued that it was sufficiently demonstrated in the Tribunal as demanded by laws, with the various print outs from the machine shown, against the argument that they were merely dumped without being analyzed.

Mr Agabi who referred the court to the judgment of the Tribunal argued that in delivering judgment, the lower court painstakingly gave a clear breakdown of how it arrived at its decision.

He urged the court affirm the judgment of the tribunal which gives the PDP candidate victory.

Governor Abdullahi Sule had approached the Court of Appeal to challenge the position of the governorship petition tribunal which declared PDP’s candidate, Mr David Ombugadu, as the lawful winner of the March 18 governorship election in the state.

He equally noted that there was no evidence before the tribunal that the percentage of votes scored by Ombugadu vis-a-vis the total votes cast in two-thirds of the 13 Local Government Areas of the State satisfied the provisions of Section 179(2) of the 1999 Constitution as Amended.

Governor Sule, therefore, urged the Appellate Court to set aside the decision of the lower court and affirm his election victory as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC.

FRCN Abuja/Adetutu Adetule

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